New to managing a building service contractor sales team? Here are some important things to know when you start.
As a building service contractor, you cover a lot of ground. You’re handling general janitorial tasks, keeping up with maintenance, talking to potential clients and putting in bids, and managing your own business. In the early stage of your company, the process may be challenging but not impossible to deal with on your own.
As your business grows, you may find that you need help, especially in the sales department. While you’ve worked to develop business relationships and offer clients a personalized, hands-on experience, at some point, you get stretched too thin. You can’t give your full attention to the different aspects of your job, and something has to change.
First, this is encouraging. Though it’s a big step to hire and manage a new building service contractor sales team, the fact that you’re at that stage means your business is doing well. Even if your sales team is one person, for now, this is a necessary step in growing your company. Now on to some questions: how do you hire, manage, and pay your salespeople?
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Creating your building service contractor sales team the right way
Hiring seems like a good place to start this conversation. And there’s a lot to consider here. If you don’t have time to train and work with a new salesperson for long, you may be better off hiring someone already familiar with building service contractor work. However, any good salesperson should be able to “sell” once they have a solid understanding of the product or service. So if you can spend time getting a salesperson up to speed, you may have an easier time finding the right person.
In either case, this person represents your company, so you want to screen your applicants carefully. And you should still plan to spend a significant amount of time with them, at least in the first week or two, gradually shifting the sales responsibilities to them.
During that time, send them out into the field with your team. Let them get first-hand experience with how your business functions and interacts with customers. Sit down with them and go through the products you use, the services you offer, and your mission statement. Take them with you to do walk-throughs, talk with customers, and explore new opportunities. You want them to be as familiar as possible with your company.
That brings us into management. At some point, your company may grow enough that you have a large sales team and can hire a sales manager. For now, though, let’s assume you only have one or two salespeople, and you will act as their manager.
The very first thing you need to understand is that they will do things differently than you. And that’s okay. Your new salespeople aren’t going to win every contract. They will make mistakes. This has to happen – it’s an essential part of the learning process. Part of managing a building service contractor salesperson or team is controlling your own impulses to constantly watch and correct.
However, you can and should continue to have check-ins and training sessions. Congratulate them on successes, big and small. And approach mistakes as a learning opportunity and not a chance to take out your frustrations on someone. That doesn’t work.
Ultimately, your job is to set your sales team up for success. Give them the tools they need to win over new clients and get out of the way. Then you can focus on making your business better than ever.
Of course, one of the major points with any sales team is around compensation. There are several ways to approach this, and there isn’t one “best” answer.
Several common types of sales compensation are:
- A regular salary with no commission
- A salary based 100% on commission
- A mix of a base salary plus a commission
- A base salary plus bonus based on sales
Then several factors can influence the best option for you and your sales team. These can include such things as whether you expect your salespeople to also manage the accounts, the cost of living in your region, how cyclical your business is (for example, if you work primarily with summer resorts vs. business parks), and what your rates are.
This is where things get a little tricky. And there are pros and cons to each approach. One thing is without question, though. You have to provide a reasonable salary. Whether you decide that’s entirely through commissions or a regular salary, the final numbers have to work.
You aren’t going to get the best salespeople if the pay is below average. In case you’re wondering, by the way, the “average” is a pretty wide range. For example, Comparably and Indeed both put the average around $58,000, while Zip Recruiter has it closer to $54,000.
Ultimately, you need to weigh several items. Just remember, your salesperson is going to help you move your business forward, so make your choices accordingly.
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